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2020 Project Management Team Established

March 10, 2016


We are pleased to announce several key personnel moves that are critical to the next phase of the 2020 Project that is designed to roughly double the physical size of UC Merced.

First, we are naming Veronica Mendez, assistant vice chancellor of Planning and Budget, to serve as Interim Project Executive of the 2020 Project Management Team. Veronica, who has played a critical leadership role in the drafting of the request for proposals, will now take the lead in building the project management team that will oversee construction that will commence by this fall.

Second, assisting Veronica will be Andy Boyd, currently executive director of Business and Financial Strategic Initiatives, who will serve as Interim Senior Project Manager during the critical first months of the project.  An open recruitment for a permanent senior project manager is underway.

Third, current campus fire marshal Gini Krippner will assume an expanded role under the 2020 Project as campus building official, overseeing all inspection functions for the construction of the expanded campus.

Veronica’s, Andy’s, and Gini’s appointments are effective immediately.

Fourth, is that after conducting a national search that brought forth an outstanding pool of candidates, we are pleased to announce the appointment of Michael J. McLeod as associate vice chancellor for Physical Planning, Development and Operations at UC Merced.  

Mike will oversee all aspects of physical planning, development and operations for the existing campus.  In addition, he will work closely with Veronica and Andy to prepare the campus for the operations and maintenance functions of new facilities that will be delivered through the 2020 Project.  His appointment begins April 19.

Mike’s experience and record of achievement were significant factors that led him to emerge as the top candidate to lead our newly consolidated department that includes Facilities, Real Estate Services, planning and Design and Construction. His areas of expertise encompass facilities operations, project management and infrastructure development, and he possess strong management skills. We are confident in his ability to bring new and effective methods of meeting UC Merced’s day-to-day operational needs while providing an overall strategy and vision for the range of issues the campus faces as it transitions from start-up institution to one that is growing and maturing.

Mike will join our campus from Arizona State University (ASU), where he has spent the last 15 years. He serves as director of research infrastructure for The Biodesign Institute, ASU’s flagship research facility that focuses on health and sustainability scholarship. Under his direction, the institute reduced operating costs by $2.9 million over seven years and dramatically improved customer service. He also developed an energy reduction program that lowered the institute’s utility costs by $1.2 million. 

Under his leadership, one of The Biodesign Institute’s buildings earned LEED Platinum from the U.S. Green Building Council, making it the first building in Arizona and third research laboratory in the world to earn that distinction. At ASU, Mike earned a strong reputation for meeting the needs of faculty and research teams and was lauded for his ability to see the “big picture” while also being cognizant about smaller details. 

Mike’s appointment at UC Merced also serves as his homecoming to the Central Valley. He was born in Bakersfield, raised in the farming community of Wasco and graduated from Cal Poly San Luis Obispo. As a first-generation college graduate, he understands the value of a quality education and wholeheartedly supports UC Merced’s mission of teaching, research and public service.

We are confident in Mike’s ability to foster leadership and collaboration in his new role and that he will be a strong partner to Veronica and Andy as we move into this critical next phase of the 2020 Project. 

The 2020 Project Management Team and the Associate Vice Chancellor of Physical Operations, Planning and Development will report dually to the vice chancellors for the divisions of Business and Administrative Services and Planning and Budget.

Please join us in congratulating Veronica and Andy and welcoming Mike to UC Merced.

Best regards,

Michael Reese
Vice Chancellor for Business and Administrative Services
Daniel Feitelberg
Vice Chancellor for Planning and Budget